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Legends of the Maori

Chapter XV. — The Warrior Tale of Marangai-Paroa — And His Sons

Chapter XV.
The Warrior Tale of Marangai-Paroa
And His Sons.

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WHEN the warrior chief Toa-Rangatira died, at South Kawhia, his son, Marangai-paroa, was the leading chief of that country. For a long time he lived in peace with his neighbours. It was not till after the births of his sons Te-Maunu, Kimihia, Tuhaha, Te Haunga, and their sister Te Aka-ma-puhia, that Marangai-paroa engaged in warfare. It came about in this way.

A high chief of the Ngati-Raukawa tribe, Au-turaroa by name, was killed by the Ngati-Terangi tribe; and whenever the Ngati-Raukawa and the Ngati-Maru of Hauraki went to avenge Au-turaroa’s death, the Ngati-Terangi would come out of their forts and defeat them. They were always shattered, and forced to fly. Many times did the Ngati-Raukawa and the Ngati-Maru essay to vanquish Ngati-Terangi; but each time that tribe of Tauranga was victorious.

There was a man of Ngati-Raukawa named Koroua-puta, who thought his tribe would never be able to avenge the death of Au-turaroa. In his efforts to secure assistance he journeyed to Kawhia, to see Marangai-paroa. When Koroua-puta met this son of Toa-Rangatira he told him of Au-turaroa’s death, and made request of him to march with a war-party and avenge it.

Marangai-paroa wept long and bitterly when he heard of Au-turaroa’s death; he greatly sorrowed for him, for he was a kinsman. And when he had ended his lamentation he said to Koroua-puta, “You return; I will follow you.” At that reply Koroua-puta thought Marangai-paroa would sound the battle-cry amongst the whole of his people along the west coast; and so he returned with content to his home at Maungatautari. He went by way of the Waipa valley, and on his way he found Tangaroa-meke and his people engaged in cultivating the soil. The chief said to Koroua-puta, “Behold the industry of my people, laying up stores of food to keep their bodies nourished in time of winter!”

Koroua-puta replied, “E Tangaroa-meke kei uta; kei tai te pakanga.” By this he meant, “O Tangaroa-meke, your fame for food cultivation has spread over the land; but the battle is by the sea.” He said this because page 67 Tangaroa-meke was a blood relation of Au-turaroa’s, and the Waipa chief did not show any love for his relative who had been killed.

Koroua-puta continued his journey, and at length came to his home, in the land of the Ngati-Raukawa at Maungatautari. He immediately ordered his people to prepare large quantities of food for Marangai-paroa’s army—which he expected from Kawhia—such foods as eels, preserved pigeons, kumara, and taro.

After Koroua-puta’s departure from Kawhia, Marangai-paroa called his own sons and blood relations together, and assembled a war-party of a hundred and forty picked men, who marched with him to Maungatautari. When the Ngati-Raukawa saw so small a band of fighters, they felt disappointed and contemptuous, and they withheld the food which they had prepared for Marangai-paroa’s expected army.

The day soon came when the avengers marched to engage the Ngati-Terangi in battle. Ngati-Raukawa and Ngati-Maru both said to Marangai-paroa, “What is the use of you going to fight the Ngati-Terangi with such a small band? Those foes of ours are a very numerous people.”

Marangai-paroa replied to them with a proverb, “Ahakoa ahau he itiiti pokerekere tuku mai i runga o Moeatoa, tena koe e kite.” (Though I am but a small cloud passing over the mountain Moeatoa, you will see). He and his men then went on to Rungaterangi, and the Ngati-Raukawa and Ngati-Maru followed, very much perturbed.

When the warriors of Tauranga saw the approaching war-party they came out of their pa to assail Marangai-paroa. The chief of Kawhia gazed intently on that great army of Tauranga warriors: indeed, its people seemed to be numberless. Again the chiefs of Ngati-Raukawa spoke to him of the huge array of foes. They said to him, “Behold the crabs of Rangataua. It is impossible for you to bewitch them. Discretion is the path of wisdom. Go home; if you go on you will never return.”

And Marangai-paroa answered them, “He ahakoa, iti te whetu ki runga ki te rangi, nui pokekeao uhia kia ngaro e kore e ngaro” (Though the stars may be few in the heavens, and a cloud ever so great, the stars can never be obliterated). So he arranged the battle order of the small band. Forty men he sent to support his two sons, Haunga and Tuhaha. Some he disposed under himself and his other sons.

Haunga, and now Tuhaha, bravely engaged the Ngati-Terangi. Tuhaha called out to his younger brother Haunga, and said, “Be careful, so that we may see our parents and brothers again.”

Haunga would not listen; he became reckless, and went on dashing at the foe, and slaying right and left. When Te Haunga’s followers saw page 68 his desperate valour, they, too, became desperate men. They slaughtered the Ngati-Terangi, whose head chief, Tumakairoro, was killed.

When the Ngati-Raukawa realised that their hated enemies Ngati-Terangi had been conquered by Marangai-paroa and his small band, they were filled with shame, but with admiration for the Kawhia men. So they gave the young woman Kahurangi to Marangai-paroa for a wife for his gallant son Haunga. Marangai-paroa then returned with his sons and his clansmen to Kawhia.

The fame of Marangai-paroa’s victorious exploits rang throughout the land. The Waikato people now sent to Kawhia for help. They requested the chief to come and avenge the death of a warrior named Nukuraerae. This Nukuraerae was a relative of Marangai-paroa; and the chieftain of Kawhia wept and lamented his death, for Marangai-paroa’s mother, Parehounuku, was of that particular tribe of the Waikato. So he and his sons and his people again went out on the war-path. They marched to Waikato; they followed up the foe; they killed those who had caused the death of Nukuraerae.

The Waikato people then gave Tira-purua to Marangai-paroa for a wife for his son Haunga. Tira-purua was the daughter of Whare-tipeti, elder brother of Tapaue, who was the grandparent of Potatau te Whero-whero, the first Maori king, who died in 1860.

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Pomare’s Genealogy

THE following whakapapa or genealogical list gives the direct descent of Sir Maui Pomare from Polynesian ancestors, going back to a period about eight hundred years ago. The first eight names of the whakapapa are those of successive chiefs who lived in Tahiti. The celebrated Kaihamu, whose wife was Tuparahaki, is sixteenth on the list; the romantic story of this pair of ancestors is given in this history. Each name on the list represents a generation, equivalent to a period of twenty-five years.

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Genealogy of the Chieftainess Tuparahaki.
(Aotea and Tainui Lines.)

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Rauparaha’s Expeditions.

WITH the assistance of Takaratai, Rauparaha and Te Atiawa originally came to Kapiti. This expedition of Ngapuhi reached the Ngatimaru tribe, which was overcome. They proceeded till they came to Whanganui, and there they took the village of Purua. After this conflict they continued their journey along the coast till they reached Waikanae. It was then that Rauparaha first saw Kapiti Island. They went on to Pukerua, where they had a battle with the Ngati-Kahuhunu. When they got to Rimurapa Tuwhare lost some of his canoes, but those which kept near the shore reached Parangarehu (Pencarrow Head) in safety, where the army decided to meet. From there they went on to Wairarapa and engaged the natives of that place in a severe conflict in which the Ngapuhi suffered defeat. The chief Te Karu, with fifty fighting-men, was lost.

After this defeat peace was declared, but the Ngapuhi were not satisfied till they had another battle with the Ngati-Kahuhunu, where they were outnumbered to such an extent that they (Ngapuhi) had to give up all hopes of conquering them and thus they returned to their home, leaving Te Atiawa at Taranaki and the Ngati-Toa at Kawhia.

Waikato made a raid on the Ngati-Toa at Kawhia shortly after, but were repulsed, and then the great expedition which was called the Amiowhenua took place, Tukorehu, Kukutai, Totara-i-ahua and Te Kawau being the chiefs. They came by way of Port Ahuriri and fought along the coast through Wairarapa, Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington), Waikanae, Otaki, Manawatu, Rangitikei, Wanganui and Ngati-Ruanui. The Ngati-Ruanui engaged and repulsed them after a terrible conflict, hence the song of lament, “Tenei ka noho kapakapa tu ana te tau o taku manawa ki aku tamariki.” After the Waikato were repulsed they proceeded to Waitara and there remained.

Rauparaha with the Ngati-Toa came to Te Kaweka, where they heard that the Waikato, under Pehi Korehu and the Ngati-Whatua, were waiting for them at Waitara. Te Atiawa and Ngati-Toa then besieged Waikato and Waikato were driven out at Ngapuketurua. The great chief Te Mahia was killed in this engagement. During the night Waikato escaped to Pukerangiora by a very clever ruse. They left a few men in front of the hill at night to engage in singing war-songs while the main army escaped at the back. The song they sang was: “E to ana tona waka ia te kumukumu” etc. Next day Te Atiawa followed the Waikato and at Te Raihe-poaka they page 74 engaged the enemy and utterly routed the Waikato hosts, who left their great chiefs Taiki, Titiri and Te Koraha as dead on the field of battle. One chief on our side, Hina by name, belonging to the Otaraua section, was killed. It was here that our forces first heard of the great relief party Te Wherowhero, Te Kanawa, Mama, Hiakai and Aupokia were bringing. When they reached Mimi our advance guard engaged them in conflict and our men, to the number of twenty, were killed, but the day following the whole army was engaged. Then Te Pokaitara killed the first man, whose name was Kahukahu. After that there was a general rout of the Waikato. Our men followed them up and kept harassing them as they were fighting a rearguard action. By the time they reached the chief Te Wherowhero and his reserves 100 men or more were killed on their side. The great chief Mama was killed by Koihua and Te Matoha killed Hiakai and Hori.

The battle raged round Te Wherowhero, and when he saw his men perishing round him he called out to Te Rauparaha: “E Raha, he aha to koha kia au?” (“O Rauparaha, what is your gift for me?”)

Rauparaha answered in the words which have now become a proverb: “Do not go by the under side for there the lower jaw stands, nor yet go by the upper side, for there the upper jaw is ready to spring and come down upon the lower jaw,” meaning that if he went either by the shore or up into the mountains he would run into an ambush, because a party of Te Atiawa was already there waiting and harassing Pehi Korehu. Thus ended these conflicts for a season.*

When Rauparaha knew that all his defeats had been avenged and wiped out and his fame had gone forth as a great warrior, he then went back and tried to persuade his own people, the Ngati-Raukawa at Mangatautari, and the Arawa to migrate to Kapiti with him. They refused to have anything to do with him and his mad ideas, so he came back to his other tribe, the Atiawa, and asked them to come with him and bring the Ngati-Toa to Kapiti. The burden of his thoughts were expressed in a song.

Then the great chiefs of the Atiawa tribe met together and finally decided that they would come with him. These were the names of the chiefs who went with him on his first visit to Kapiti:

Ngatimutunga hapu: Pomare Ngatata, Te Waka Tiwai, Pakaiahi (Manukonga), Te Matoha, Patukawenga, Ketu, Wharepoaka.

Ngatihinetuhi hapu: Rangikatata, Ngarewa, Pito, Te Hara, Ru, Henare Ngahoti, Koro.

Otaraua hapu: Rautahi.

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Kaitangata hapu: Tuhata Patuhiki, Te Karu, Tumokemoke, Te Ika a kape, Ranginohokau.

Manukorihi hapu: Reretawhangawhanga, Wiremu Kingi, Tatairau, Pakaiahi, Manuparenga.

Ngatituaho hapu: Tamaranga, Hamiora Hotu, Taikarekare, Wharerau, Piti, Poki (wahine), Pohe Waiehuehu.

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* This battle, known as Te Motunui, was fought in the year 1821.